Obesity can affect most areas of the body. It can also increase a person’s risk of serious health conditions. These include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
Experts determine obesity as having a body mass index (BMI) of
BMI is not the only indication of obesity. Healthcare professionals may also use a person’s waist-to-hip ratio to determine obesity and the risk of obesity-related conditions.
Several factors can contribute to a person gaining weight and developing obesity. These factors include:
- eating habits
- physical activity habits
- sleep routine
- health conditions
This article discusses how obesity affects different systems of the body.
Weight management resources
To discover more evidence-based information and resources for weight management, visit our dedicated hub.
Obesity is associated with a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other issues. This is both a direct relation to obesity as well as to other conditions associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea.
Excess weight from obesity can cause fatty materials to buildup in a person’s arteries. The arteries are the vessels that carry blood to and from the heart. The buildup can cause these vessels to become blocked or damaged, which can lead to a heart attack.
If this buildup also affects the arteries that carry blood to the brain, it can cause a stroke.
Fat buildup from obesity can cause a restriction in the airways, which leads to decreased airflow. This can make it more difficult for a person to breathe as usual.
Obesity can increase a person’s risk of developing respiratory conditions, including:
- pulmonary hypertension or high blood pressure in the vessels of the lungs
- pulmonary embolism or a blood clot that blocks the blood flow to the lungs
- respiratory tract infections
- obstructive sleep apnea
- obesity hypoventilation syndrome
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Sleep apnea is
Obesity can affect the digestive system in various ways. This includes increasing the risk of developing other conditions,
- nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- colon polyps
- erosive esophagitis
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- erosive gastritis
- acute pancreatitis
Between 22 and 70% of people with obesity also experience GERD. This compares to the prevalence of approximately 15% in the general population. Researchers believe the increased risk of GERD in those with obesity may be due to excess abdominal fat increasing intra-abdominal pressure and visceral adipose tissue causing esophageal inflammation.
Researchers connect obesity and reproductive issues in various ways. For instance, the metabolic changes that occur due to obesity
While research is inconclusive, some studies state obesity may cause changes in sperm production and testosterone levels.
There is a link between obesity and many endocrine and hormone-related conditions. These
One of the main health risks of obesity is the development of type 2 diabetes. Approximately
Obesity can lead to excess layers of subcutaneous fat and increased sweating. The excess fat layers create more skin folds. This can cause moisture to build up in those areas and lead to rashes and friction.
Obesity can also cause or worsen various skin conditions, including:
Obesity can also
Many people with obesity experience issues with their mental health that relates to:
- body image
- quality of life
Individuals with severe obesity may be around five times more likely to experience episodes of major depression than those without obesity. Around one-third of those with obesity who had bariatric surgery reported experiencing symptoms of depression before surgery. Approximately half reported a history of depression.
Other mental health issues that people with obesity may experience or may be at higher risk of developing include:
Weight loss can be part of a successful treatment plan for some people with obesity. However, without other treatments for the conditions, such as depression, many people experienced a reoccurrence of symptoms following weight loss.
Obesity may put a person at an
An individual can speak with a doctor about their risks of developing cancer or other health conditions.
Obesity is an increasing issue among the general population. It can affect most areas of the body.
Obesity can put individuals at higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. It can also affect a person’s breathing and lead to respiratory conditions such as sleep apnea.
There is also a link between obesity and issues with the digestive system, skin, and fertility. It can also increase a person’s risk of developing certain cancers and mental health conditions.
An individual with concerns about obesity or who is interested in weight loss can speak with a healthcare professional for more information and guidance.